Mary Kolbenschlag
April 2020


COVID-19 has put a big question mark on getting back to campus. How do you feel about your classes possibly being online again? Do you question if this is good value for your money? Why not consider a gap year? There are many that do not require travel and you can gain a tremendous amount of experience and self-growth. 

If you're wondering if this is something to consider, here are some questions you can ask yourself: 

Am I…

  • experiencing a high level of stress or anxiety about college decisions and the transition period?
  • saying things like “I’m just not ready”!
  • aware of my gifts, strengths, talents as it relates to potential careers or studies?
  • in need of a break?
  • asking for independence outside of an academic setting with some support and boundaries?
  • desiring an experience with a different culture and / or language through immersion?
  • asking for hands-on experience to compliment my academics?
  • not excited about going to college on-line or looking for a plan B?


If these are some of the questions you find floating around in your head, maybe you should consider a gap year.


What is a Gap Year?

It is a period, typically an academic year, frequently referred to as a bridge year, taken by a student as a break between high school and college. 

It's typified by: intentionality, deliberately expanding one's comfort zones in order to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness and growth. 



The Misconceptions of Taking a Gap Year

Historically, there have been many misconceptions about these types of programs. Let’s set the record straight! We love the idea of exploring a gap year and here’s why!

MYTH #1: Gappers take longer to graduate from college.

FACT: The average time to graduation for “gappers” is 4 years! The national average is 5+ years for a bachelors. By the way, the average cost of changing a major is $45K. Gappers change their majors less


MYTH # 2: My College GPA will suffer because I am out of the “rigor and discipline of school”.

FACT: Colleges are seeing gappers as more focused, motivated, mature and broader thinkers. They have an expanded world-view and are more adaptable. 


MYTH #3: It’s a full year and I could lose my spot in college. 

FACT: Nope! Gap years can range from a few weeks to a full year or more. Most colleges will allow applicants to retain their spot and delay their start date

(Note: It's always best to check with the schools first, especially now during COVID-19). Check here -->Colleges That Support A Gap Year


MYTH #4: It’s VERY expensive!

FACT: No need to break the bank. Gap year costs can range from zero to several thousand dollars. There are even options to ‘make’ money: non-profit grants, scholarships, corporate support, or ministries. Study-Abroad Scholarships 


MYTH #5: Gappers are less apt to go to college.

FACT: 77% of gappers stated that it helped them find their purpose in life and 59% said it helped them determine what to study and were motivated to get their degrees. It’s an opportunity for the student to take more ownership of their life rather than following the "Cradle to College to Cubicle to Cemetery Cycle”.


MYTH #6: Gappers are behind when they come back.

FACT: Companies are looking for well-rounded future employees. They want to see you have been exposed to different cultures, have an expanded global awareness especially to various socio-economic groups, and is adaptable. College is less age-bound, age doesn’t matter like it does in high school.


 Gap Year Considerations

Here’s what some students are saying about how they are making their decisions. Good Morning America Students Consider a Gap Year


Stay tuned for Part 2. “Finding the Right Gap Year Experience for You!”
©2023 Discover Pathwaze - All rights reserved.